Well over 1,000 members of the Woldingham community attended this year’s carol service in Westminster Cathedral. Mrs Hutchinson welcomed everyone – girls, parents, staff, governors, alumnae and guests – and expressed her thanks for their commitment and support. She also reflected on Woldingham’s 176th anniversary, just two days earlier, and said that she was sure the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, such pioneers of girls’ education, would be delighted to experience Woldingham in 2018 and see its all-round education in action.
Before his opening prayer, Fr Gerry described the service as an opportunity for everyone to pause and reflect on what Christmas means to us. He also said that, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we should radiate a sense of joy to others, by our words and kind example, and take the time to open our eyes to those around us, to help and to heal, to comfort and to befriend.
All of the readers, who included a Year 7 student and a Hong Kong-based Old Girl, were outstanding, and the service was filled with sublime music. This began with a lovely rendition of O Radiant Dawn (James MacMillan) from Amaris, who later performed three carols by Benjamin Britten. Two of its members also sang a beautiful duet of the first verse of Silent Night in the original German, accompanied by a harpist, before the carol was sung by the whole congregation. Year 7, the Junior and Senior Choirs, and Amaris sang a delightful traditional French carol, Noël Nouvelet, and the voices of the St Francis Catholic Primary School choir rang out in a hushed cathedral as they sang the first verse of Once In Royal David’s City.
After this joyful celebration of Christmas, many of the congregation gathered at The Grosvenor Hotel for a delightful hour or two of mince pies, mulled wine and catching up with friends, old and new.
If you would like to watch the service, click here.